DYAC Summit 2023 was held at Cohutta Spring Conference Center in Candell, Georgia, from August 9th to 13th, 2023. Our theme was to “Follow In His Steps” with a memory verse: 1 Peter 2:21. There were 17 attendees.
On Wednesday evening, a group of people arrived at a campground and were amazed by the stunning views. They soon met others who had come from different parts of the country. After checking in and settling, they found a beautiful spot to introduce themselves. Nicolette Reynoso, DYAC President, encouraged everyone to share their gratitude, and they prayed together to bless the weekend.
The DYAC Summit started its program with DYAC’s Secretary, Farrah Gooding-Santiago’s workshop. Farrah noticed many young adults were lost in local church board meetings, not knowing how to conduct the proper steps of proposing their request or how to write the meeting minutes. She presented “Robert’s Rules of Order: How to run a non-profit organization” to help them understand why it was created to run orderly board meetings. The attendees learned about Henry Robert’s mistake of running public meetings without knowing how to run an effective and timely meeting despite his military background. He studied the parliamentary procedure and adapted it into his manual book, which many organizations, governments, and schools today still follow. The attendees appreciate the notes on the steps of what to do at the board meetings so they can use them for their reference.
The next workshop was given by Hector Reynoso, an adventurer who enjoys spending time outdoors and shared his experience surviving in the wilderness. He showed pictures of the resources and emphasized the importance of being prepared. He reminded the attendees, during a challenging situation, of two verses, Proverbs 3:5-6 and Exodus 14:13-14. We are to trust the LORD and acknowledge Him in all their ways. Hector emphasized the importance of staying calm and keeping one's mind focused on God for help. He explained the facts about the rule of three: A person can live for three 3 minutes without air, three days without water, and three weeks without food. He demonstrated skills related to the outdoors, including making a fire, filtering water, using pots, and administering first aid. Overall, Hector's presentation was informative and inspiring.
Following Hector’s presentation, Farrah reported her progress with the ASL Hymnal Project with the group. She encouraged the group to sign up to sign the songs regardless of their signing skills. Many shared their experiences of seeing others signing the songs incorrectly, which motivates them to make the changes. If you, readers, want to volunteer to sign a song, please contact Farrah at email@example.com.
After a delicious lunch, the attendees joined activities such as ziplining, swimming in the pool, jumping on the blob, and sliding down the giant water slide. Even one person over 50 years old had fun going down the water slide twice!
After a good massage and a good dinner, Nicolette Reynoso emphasized the importance of following in the footsteps of Jesus. She broke down the STEPS acronym, explaining the significance of each letter: Serve, Tell, Exemplify, Pray, and Sacrifice. Nicolette shared the stories and examples from Jesus' time to help attendees find comfort and solutions to their struggles. Additionally, she posed a thought-provoking question: "What would Jesus do?" They ended the day with a meaningful prayer meeting.
Farrah continued to give the second part of Robert’s Rule of Order, focusing on revising our DYAC’s Bylaws. It was created at the organization's beginning, not realizing it needed to be updated with new mission goals for the next 15 years. Many original DYAC members benefitted from DYAC programs and have aged out. They wished DYAC to continue for many more years, but we are running out of the targeted age (18 to 38 years old) people. The attendees shared their ideas and recommendations to the bylaws. We felt an hour long was too short and wished to continue to revise our bylaws through Zoom meetings for the remainder of this year. The DYAC Board will send an email soon this year for your requested participation to improve our bylaws. (https://www.deafdyac.org/bylaws)
Uloma Picerrillo, next, gave her presentation based on John 4:20-23. True worshippers should have a relationship with God. There are many examples from the Bible: When Jesus conversed with a Samaritan woman at a well, the woman brought up a religious dispute between the Jews and the Samaritans about the proper place of worship. The Samaritans worshiped on Sychar, near the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph, while the Jews worshiped in Jerusalem at the temple. Jesus responds by explaining that a time is coming when the physical location of worship won’t matter as much. Jesus also points out that the Samaritans worship without a complete understanding of God, whereas the Jews have a greater understanding due to their heritage. Here, Jesus emphasizes a crucial change in worship. True worshipers will worship the Father “in spirit and truth.” This means that physical places or rituals will not limit genuine worship. It will be a heartfelt, sincere, and authentic worship guided by the truth about God’s nature.
In summary, Jesus taught that worship should not be confined to a specific location. Still, it should be about a genuine connection with God through a sincere heart and a correct understanding of God’s character. It is not defined by physical boundaries but by a spiritual and truthful approach.
For the rest of the afternoon, they participate in activities such as riding the banana boat, hiking, swimming in the pool, working out at the gym, or having a massage.
DYAC joined the Lord’s Supper with the Southern Deaf Fellowship. Pastor Jeff Jordan gave a brief sermon. Jaycee Robinson and Brian Kelly read the verses. Nicolette signed the songs. All worshippers washed each others’ feet. They ate bread and drank grape juice to remember Christ. Some people shared their testimonies, which was incredible that God is champion and exalted!
During DYAC’s Sabbath School lesson on "The Unified Body of Christ," we discovered the significance of working together to preserve, expand, and unify the body of Christ. We also discussed the virtues Christ instructed us to practice, such as humility, gentleness, and patience. Several individuals contributed their personal experiences and insights regarding themselves and others. As we all possess unique gifts from God, we can use them to spread the gospel worldwide.
During the worship service with SDF, Catherine Langan opened the service by signing “Holy, Holy, Holy.” Tania Greer signed the song beautifully with Jaycee Robinson and Gayle Sutton. Douglass Veen, the assistant of General Conference President for Adventist Possibility Ministry, gave his compelling series of “To the Ends of the Earth,” focusing on the final test on Judgement Day and comparing the sheep and the goats’ characteristics.
After lunch, we and the angels rejoiced over Sherry Wagner’s baptism, and three people raised their hands, wanting to be baptized soon, including our DYAC Treasurer, Catherine Ingram. It seems that God held the storm till after the baptism! Many of us spent the afternoon fellowshipping with others.
After a restful afternoon and a healthy dinner, we attended the last series given by Doug. He shared the history of people establishing ministries worldwide hundreds of years ago. Doug talked to us about spreading the word to our people through ministries of helping others. He encouraged us to be involved with the ministry and visit different countries.
We wrapped up the day by swimming in the pool under the starry sky. The camp meeting blessed all of the attendees, and we were looking forward to meeting again next year.
We will host DYAC Bylaw meetings for the rest of this year. We need former, current, and future DYAC members to participate!
The board position will be vacant for 2024-2026. If you are interested in running the DYAC or to nominate someone, email us!
YOUR HELP NEEDED
We need your help in planning the following year’s program. Please send your ideas/recommendations to firstname.lastname@example.org. Or keep an eye on our website at deafdyac.org! See you next year!
Nicolette Reynoso, President
Uloma Picerillo, Vice-President
Farrah Gooding-Santiago, Secretary
Catherine Langan, Treasurer